As the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals head to Game 6 of the World Series and we come closer to the end of the 2019 Major League Baseball season, let’s take a look at some news from around the league this past week.
Red Sox Hire Bloom, Promote O’Halloran
In 2018, the Boston Red Sox celebrated a World Series championship. This year, they weren’t even able to make the postseason. As a result, the Red Sox parted ways with general manager Dave Dombrowski, and their search for new management began. But it appears that the search is over.
The Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom as their new chief baseball officer and promoted Brian O’Halloran from assistant general manager to general manager.
While Bloom inherits a largely talented roster, he will certainly have a lot of decisions to make early on. One of the most interesting ones will be based around players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. With the Red Sox wanting to stay under the luxury tax, decisions will have to be made.
One might be made for them as Martinez can opt out of his contract. While this would alleviate some of the financial decisions, it would also create a hole in their lineup. If he does stay, though, then Bloom, O’Halloran and company might have to look into moving a high-caliber player, possibly even Betts or, to a lesser extent, Bradley.
Regardless, for Bloom, who comes from the Rays organization, he has an opportunity to quickly turn around a team that struggled this season but has the talent to compete quickly if things can click.
Phillies Tab Girardi as Next Manager
After parting with manager Gabe Kapler after the end of the season, the Phillies brought in a manager that certainly has a lot of name recognition. The Philadelphia Phillies have named Joe Girardi as their new manager.
Girardi played for 15 years, with multiple World Series championships, then went on to have success as a manager both in Florida and with the Yankees. After Kapler, who was very inexperienced coming into his first managing gig, the Phillies were decidedly focused on bringing in a more experienced manager.
It was believed that the finalists came down to Girardi, Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker, all three of whom have significant experience managing but may not be part of the new wave of analytics that so many other teams have moved to.
Tingler Named New Padres Manager
The Phillies weren’t the only team that made a decision on their open manager position this week. The San Diego Padres have turned to Jace Tingler to take over as their next manager.
Tingler, who is only 38, has served as the major league player development field coordinator recently for the Texas Rangers. While Tingler played minor league ball, he never did reach the majors. Since leaving the playing field, he has served in roles ranging from working in the minor league systems to working as an assistant general manager.
Tingler does have some managing experience, as he has managed some Dominican winter league teams. Still, it continues a trend from hiring the flashy name to younger, more analytic driven managers who can be more closely tied with the general manager.
Given that AJ Preller, the Padres’ general manager, came from the Texas organization, he has obviously had some connections with Tingler prior to this.
MLB To Make Ruling On Astros Controversy
After an ugly incident where Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman made some remarks aimed at a female reporter that stemmed around closer Roberto Osuna and his past with domestic violence, the Astros have been in hot water from a public relations standpoint. It also appears that they could be in even further trouble as Major League Baseball has been investigating the situation and the perceived culture of the Astros organization.
Since the incident happened, the Astros have fired Taubman, but one of the most concerning parts of the story was the initial response of the Astros, who seemed to defend Taubman and discredit the female reporter, despite not having all the facts.
Regardless, wanting to focus on the World Series, MLB has said that it will not issue any penalties or announce its findings until after the World Series has concluded.
Hicks Has Tommy John Surgery
Last offseason, the New York Yankees signed center-fielder Aaron Hicks to a seven-year, $70 million extension that honestly seemed pretty favorable for the Yankees. Not quite a year later, the deal hasn’t gotten off to the start that Brian Cashman and the Yankees were hoping.
Hicks was injured throughout much of this season, being limited to just 221 at-bats. In that time, he hit .235/.325/.443 with 12 home runs, 36 runs batted in and 41 runs scored.
Earlier this week, though, it was announced that Hicks had Tommy John surgery on his arm, meaning he is likely to be out for the next eight to 10 months as he recovers from the procedure. Not only is this frustrating after the Yankees just signed him to an extension, but it will be interesting to see how this affects Cashman’s plan of attack in the offseason.
It seemed like a lock that the Yankees would move on from Brett Gardner, but does this injury make it more likely he comes back? Regardless, it will be a hole the Yankees need to fill as they hope to put together a championship-caliber team for next season.
Callaway Hired As Angels’ Pitching Coach
After being relieved of his duties as manager of the New York Mets, it did not take long for Mickey Callaway to find a new gig. Callaway will be going from coast to coast as the Los Angeles Angels, under new manager Joe Maddon, have hired him as their new pitching coach.
Callaway has had previous success as a pitching coach, particularly with the Cleveland Indians, where he served in that role from 2013-2017.
This season, the Angels ranked 25th in the majors with a 5.12 ERA. Between hoping to have a successful offseason (there is a lot of speculation that the Angels could make a run at Gerrit Cole) and the influence of Callaway, Maddon and the Angels are hoping to improve on this mark next season.